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The further education (FE) programme manager plays a crucial part in managing the delivery of tuition programmes and an institution’s growth strategy. The role is ideal for individuals who are passionate about the transformative power of FE and empowering students to reach their potential and enhance their skills for their future career.
The changing age profile of management in the FE sector will see a raft of senior positions become available as a large number of senior leaders reach retirement age. A recent UK government report found that the literature underlines the importance of “building leadership and management skills in the ‘pipeline’ by identifying potential leaders in the sector as early as possible and developing clear career routes”.
The report also highlights the important role of middle managers at the interface of senior management and lecturers. With colleges becoming increasingly aware of the need to replace retiring staff, as well as acknowledging the crucial role of middle management, the role of FE programme manager has never been more important.
The role of FE programme manager is suitable for project delivery professionals who can demonstrate skills and relevant experience of delivering/supporting projects. You will need to be able to demonstrate that you are a committed and passionate educator, with a focus on the FE sector.
You will be line managing other members of staff so experience in this area will be beneficial. The programme manager role will have a focus on quality so you will be expected to seek relevant improvements.
Charlie Jennings, functional skills programme manager at Milton Keynes FE College, HM Prison Gartree, Market Harborough, explains that in her role, flexibility is key. She splits her time between “being a programme manager and teaching according to the needs of the business, staff on holiday” etc. She adds that “the creativity aspect is great as you can do things in so many different ways”.
Her role involves being organised and motivated. Charlie says: “You have to be innovative in finding new ways of teaching the core skills curriculum and, like most teaching jobs, inspire learners and have a sense of humour.”
Meanwhile, when asked what the role of a programme manager is, James Thorne of Brooksby Melton College, explained that “keeping a fine balance between education, looking after facilities, managing lecturing staff and ensuring quality provision for students”.
Charlie stresses that alongside a PGCE teaching qualification, a good basic subject knowledge is essential. She adds: “You can be from any walk of life, and although life experience isn’t essential, it would benefit anyone coming into the job from a university.”
The typical salary for advanced teaching and training ranges between £37,258 and £41,928. Career progression can see those in the programme manager role rise to senior leadership positions, which can pay in excess of £90,000.
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